Partner Insight: Reduce lameness with automated mobility scoring

Lameness still costs the dairy industry over £250 million per year in treatment costs and lost production, while also impacting on cow and staff welfare. More frequent and consistent mobility scoring using an automated system can open the door to better prevention of lameness through earlier intervention.

clock • 4 min read
Partner Insight: Reduce lameness with automated mobility scoring

"With any health conditions, the more quickly symptoms are noticed, the more efficiently they can addressed and this is especially true with lameness," comments Andy Stewart from 3D imagery specialists HerdVision

"The sooner problems with foot health can be identified, the more rapidly they can be investigated and treated, and this brings huge welfare and economic benefits.  Earlier intervention is associated with lower treatment costs, reduced use of antibiotics and less disruption of production."  

Mobility scoring is an invaluable way to interpret a cow's gait to identify cows with potential foot issues.  It can also provide value indicators of sources of problems.  Are problems more common in a particular group of cows?  Are there seasonal effects?  Is a particular building linked to more mobility issues?

Regular mobility scoring allows problem cows to be spotted sooner.  But making time to score cows more frequently can be a real challenge. There are always so many demands on time managing a busy dairy unit.  So this is why automation using the HerdVision system is the way forward.

HerdVision means there is no labour involved in mobility scoring.  Immediate access to data on a regular basis allows us to make better decisions

Mobility scoring is often given a low priority, mainly because everyone is so busy.  The consequence is that cows are only scored periodically, meaning problems are not picked up as quickly as they could be.  There can also be issues with reliability of scoring as the scoring system is subjective and different people will assess cows differently.

"Automation can overcome all these problems, giving more timely and accurate data and free up valuable time.  Earlier identification of problem cows is also good for staff welfare and morale, as it can help reduce the time spent treating affected animals and minimise the disruption of milking."

What is HerdVision?

HerdVision is a fully automated mobility and body condition scoring technology using 3D imagery.  The system streamlines the collection of individual cow mobility and body condition data, through a robust camera setup that is easily installed above any race.  The outcome is high quality data on your cows to help reduce lameness.

  • Data captured for every cow every time they pass under the camera giving more frequent and consistent results
  • camera is unobtrusive meaning cows don't notice it, so behaviour is unaffected.  
  • System utilises existing EID tags for cow identification, so no additional wearable devices needed.
  • 3D images used to calculate individual cows scores, which are transmitted to a cloud-based server for further analysis. 
  • Results are accessed through a user-friendly PC dashboard and a dedicated app, 
  • Early warning alerts means potential problems can be spotted sooner
  • Data can also be shared with others involved in managing cow health such as the vet, foot trimmer and nutritionist, so allowing a better-informed team approach

 

What does this mean for you?

There are big practical benefits from moving to automated mobility scoring with HerdVision:

  • Data collected more frequently and more consistently 
  • No labour tied up scoring cows 
  • Better staff morale as fewer lameness problems
  • Lame cows spotted more accurately and faster 
  • significant reduction in antibiotics used to treating lame cows due to earlier intervention - it is estimated 50% less antibiotics are required after installing HerdVision.
  • Time previously spent on manual data recording and collation available for other tasks, with a saving of £1,170 by automating mobility scoring. 
  • Earlier intervention and treatment co0ntributed to a 6% increase in milk yields
  • 8% reduction in involuntary culling.   

"As well as spotting individual cow problems, it is easier to look for trends.  Are there problems with a particular group, or a specific building?  The data can unlock many ways to prevent problems with lameness.  For a typical 200-cow herd these benefits add up to over £45,000 per annum, providing an excellent return on investment" Andy comments.

The data is displayed in a clear way so we get an overall herd picture while the alerts mean we spot problem cows sooner and sort problems more quickly.

To find out more about HerdVision or request a demo, click here or contact us on [email protected]

STRIDE - UK Dairy Mobility Initiative

We are delighted to be a partner in this exciting industry-wide initiative committed to helping reduce the consequences of compromised mobility in UK dairy herds and improve productivity.

Complete the Stride National Mobility survey and enter the draw to WIN a range of prizes donated by the partners, including a HerdVision ED camera system.

 

 

This post is funded by Herdvision

 

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